rubyvale-pats-gems-outback-queensland-australia-1The Sapphire Gemfields in┬áCentral Queensland, Australia, are among the world’s largest Sapphire bearing regions, and accessible to the public. The area boasts many fossicking parks where visitors can search for their own Sapphire if they buy a permit from the Mines Department.

The Sapphire Gemfields are situated on the Tropic of Capricorn highway, approximately 350 kilometers or 217 miles west of Rockhampton, Queensland, and some 50 kilometers or 32 miles west of the town of Emerald, famous for the Big Easel and the giant Van Gogh Sunflower reproduction (25 meters high) by Canadian artist Cameron Cross.

The major towns in the area are Sapphire, Anakie, Rubyvale and The Willows. The Sapphire Gemfields has a permanent resident population of some 3000, but during the peak touristic season (May – September), this number is always doubled, and every year, more than 60,000 visitors are welcomed. For Australian travelers, winter is the major tourist season, while in summer there are more international tourists who are getting away from the northern hemisphere winters.